Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 292,000 in December, up from last month’s downwardly revised figure of 252,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent.
The services sector added 247 jobs, up from 213 jobs in November. Gains were led by the professional and business services industry, which added 73,000 jobs, up from a gain of 21,000 in November. Healthcare and social assistance followed with 52,600 jobs added, up from 39,800 in the previous month. Construction added 45,000 jobs, down from 48,000 added in November. On the year, the construction industry added 263,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 338,000 in 2014.
Among the service providing industries, the food services and drinking places segment had a strong year, adding 357,000 jobs in 2015. The segment added 37,000 jobs in December.
Goods producing industries added 45,000 jobs a whole, as gains from construction and nondurable goods offset contraction in the durable goods, mining and logging industries. The mining industry lost 129,000 jobs in 2015, after gaining 41,000 in 2014.
The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.6 percent in December. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more was also little changed at 2.1 million and accounted for 26.3 percent of the unemployed. The number of discouraged workers, those who gave up looking for work, was 663,000, little changed from a year ago.
Average hourly earnings slipped 1 cent to $25.24, following a 5 cent gain in November. Year-over-year, hourly earnings grew 2.5 percent.
Read the BLS release.